Generally speaking I am pretty neutral towards “cash shops” in MMORPGs. I’ve come to look at them as a sort of necessary evil in a world where the subscription model is largely broken. When monthly subscription revenue stopped being able to support MMO titles… they were forced to branch out and look in other directions to figure out a way to pay for the development of new stuff. There are times where this feels largely okay… and there are other times when it feels exploitative when more limited time cash shop only content is coming out then patch content. All in all the model gets a lot of crap from the gaming community, but there are times when the benefit gained more than makes up for the generally icky feeling inside you get by having to deal with it. In the case of a game like Guild Wars 2 where there is no “player plus plus” sort of system to entice you to go back on the monthly subscription plan to get additional access to shiny baubles… it probably feels better than a lot of options. There is a lot of stuff on the gem store… most of it of no interest to me. Generally speaking the Guild Wars 2 shop is full of a bunch of convenience items and cosmetic items. The value of both is extremely personal, but this morning I thought I would talk about a handful of items that I have picked up over the years that have made my life in game more enjoyable. Something of note… in all cases I caught the items when they were on sale and did not pay the full market value.
This is hands down the single best purchase I have ever made in Guild Wars 2. One of the biggest problems I have with the game is that it has a constant upkeep cost… namely that you have to keep running to a vendor to buy more salvage kits and as I will talk about later… harvesting tools. Now there are times when I care about what I am getting from salvaging an item… in those times I either dip into my stock of Black Lion Salvage kits that I have accumulated… or my Mystic Salvage Kits that are extremely reasonable to make. However most of the time if the item is green or lower I just want to grind it into bits to get it out of my inventory. In those situations you are largely just going to use basic salvage kits that you can pick up off the vendor cheaply. What the Copper-Fed Salvage-o-Matic does is save you that trip and simply charge you 3 copper per item salvaged. This is ultimately a savings over the 3.52 copper per salvage from Basic Salvage Kits… but you would ultimately need to grind down something like 3 million items before saving enough money to have it “pay for itself”. The convenience however makes it well worth the normally 800 gem price… and when it goes on sale it is significantly cheaper.
Unbreakable Gathering Tools
In a similar vein to the Salvage-o-Matic… my next favorite purchase is something lumped in the general category of unbreakable tools. I harvest everything in this game, because you never know when you might need all of those Strawberries. As a result I used to have to constantly run to vendors and buy new tools… or in my case I used to carry around a stack of them taking up inventory space just in case one broke… and I was standing beside a rich mithril node. There are lots of different individual tools that have various effects on them… and I managed to pick up my first set of unbreakable tools by slowly snagging them one by one as they went on sale. As a result I have a mismatched set of a Clockwork pick, Molten Axe and Mad Scientists Foraging tool, but the functionality of never having to worry about running out of resources makes me extremely happy. They also have a way less frilly set of tools simply titled Unbreakable Gathering Tools that gives you normal looking versions of each of the tools that simply never break. This basic set normally goes for 2400 gems but over the weekend due to the Anniversary sales was going for 1680.
Mistlock Sanctuary Passkey
One of the things that Guild Wars 2 added in is a number of cloistered areas that require some sort of access pass. All told there is the Captain’s Airship Pass, Lava Lounge, Mistlock Sanctuary, Noble’s Folly, and Royal Terrace… and with Path of Fire they are giving us another one called the Lily of the Elon. Functionally they all serve the same role of giving you instant access to a condensed area that contains every possible NPC that you would need to interact with. What makes Mistlock interesting is that it doesn’t exist in the normal world map… so instead they give you a portal merchant that will take you to any capitol city in the world… or return you to the zone you were just in. I find this functionality to be amazingly useful especially when I need to just step AFK for a bit, and the ability to return me to almost exactly where I standing before is insanely useful. Where this really comes in amazingly well is on alts that maybe don’t have access to the rest of the world yet. There is one weird glitch however… if you take an alt to Lion’s Arch before the story actually takes them there… it will play the intro video as though you had just zoned in every single time you go there. The weird bit of Mistlock Sanctuary… is that it is rarely actually for sale. When it is you can pick it up for 1000 gems… but you have to watch the store like a hawk for when it is listed next. There are limited time passes available on a regular basis… but I personally only care about something like this if it is unlimited use. This may or may not be why I have a bank full of short term convenience items that I will likely never actually use…. and wish I could put up on the market board.
Shared Inventory Slots
I don’t really have a relevant image to this one… but one of the super handy things you can pick up in the game that is super cost prohibitive is shared inventory slots. Sure your bank is shared by your entire account but starting with Heart of Thorns they started giving us the ability to add a special bag at the top of our inventory with items that are shared between all of my characters. This becomes extremely handy when you say… put your Copper-Fed Salvage-O-Matic up there… or your Mistlock Sanctuary Pass. Then every single character you log into can easily benefit from access to these items. I wish the unbreakable gathering tools could work similarly… but unfortunately for those you either need to hot swap them between characters or own multiple sets. When I say these are cost prohibitive… you get one for purchasing heart of thorns and another for purchasing path of fire… then from there they cost 700 gems per slot with price breaks if you buy 3 and 5 at a time. You can in theory have 18 total per account… but I imagine most players have significantly fewer given the cost. Right now I largely use them as a way to give my Salvage-O-Matic, Mistlock pass, and my growing stack of Teleport to Friend items to all characters. In theory if I ever managed to pull one of the unlimited use bank or market passes… they would go there as well. Combined however all of these items have lowered the amount of day to day upkeep I have to deal with when playing Guild Wars 2… and as a result have greatly increased my overall happiness with my gaming experience.